Research & Practice Spotlight

The Influence of Conflict Issue Importance on the Co-occurrence of Task and Relationship Conflict in Teams

Task conflicts may be beneficial for team performance whereas relationship conflicts are associated with negative team outcomes. Because the two conflict types are typically correlated within teams, it is difficult to enhance task conflicts and simultaneously avoid relationship conflicts. This study examines how importance of the conflict issue moderates the association between task and relationship conflict. In addition, the hypothesis was tested that the interaction between task conflict and issue importance on relationship conflict is mediated by task conflict emotionality.

Cross-Cultural Difference in Reactions to Facework During Service Failures

When companies have service failures, they need to not only fix the actual problem but also to communicate with customers in ways that do not damage the relationship. This study examines whether people with different cultural orientations react differently to the communications that attack or support community-related face (positive face) versus autonomy-related face (negative face). We predicted, and found, that Westerners (Americans) react more strongly than Asians (Koreans and Indians) to autonomy-related facework.

Negotiation Offers and the Search for Agreement

A key component of negotiation dynamics is the search for mutually beneficial agreements, and offer exchange is a key element of that process. Rooted in the tradition of information processing psychology, we develop a theoretical model that conceives of negotiation as the collaborative search of a complex offer space. Negotiators simplify and coordinate search via information contained in offer exchanges, isolating subregions of the offer space for potential solutions.

Vacating of Arbitration Awards as Diminishment of Conflict Resolution

The traditional perspective about arbitration has been that the award of the arbitrator is final and binding on all parties. Generally, arbitration has resolved the conflict. However, a trend has emerged in which the losing party seeks a court as a second forum for the resolution of the dispute in order to have the decision of the arbitrator vacated. This study analyzed 101 randomly selected cases out of a population of 573 cases in which vacatur of an arbitration award was sought. In approximately 30% of these cases, the arbitration award was in fact vacated.

Location in negotiation: Is there a home field advantage?

Although location is considered to play an important role in negotiation potentially favoring one side over the other, little research has examined whether negotiating on one’s home field indeed confers an advantage to the resident party. We tested this possibility by experimentally manipulating participants’ occupancy status (resident versus neutral versus visitor). Across three studies, we find that residents of an office space outperform the visiting party in a distributive negotiation.

What’s in a name? Subliminally activating trusting behavior

Because the choice to trust is inherently risky, people naturally assess others’ trustworthiness before they engage in trusting actions. The research reported here suggests that the trust development process may start before the conscious assessment of trustworthiness, via the activation of a relational schema. We present three experiments that examined the automatic, non-conscious activation of interpersonal trusting behavior via a variety of subliminal cues: positive or negative, relational or non-relational, and trust-related or not.

Intragroup Conflict Under the Microscope: Micro-Conflicts in Naturalistic Team Discussions

We argue for the value of examining micro-conflicts, brief moment-by-moment disagreements in conversations, and present a test of a coding scheme for this construct. Conceptualized and measured as such, micro-conflicts are brief rather than long-lasting behaviors, observational rather than self-report, and do not rely on participant retrospection. Using video data from naturalistic multidisciplinary teams, we examined type of micro-conflicts, micro-conflict resolution, affect, and the effect of team characteristics.

Negotiation as a form of persuasion: Arguments in first offers.

In this article we examined aspects of negotiation within a persuasion framework. Specifically, we investigated how the provision of arguments that justified the first offer in a negotiation affected the behavior of the parties, namely, how it influenced counteroffers and settlement prices. In a series of 4 experiments and 2 pilot studies, we demonstrated that when the generation of counterarguments was easy, negotiators who did not add arguments to their first offers achieved superior results compared with negotiators who used arguments to justify their first offer.

The Role of Justice in Historical Negotiations

This study explores the role of justice in eleven historical cases of inter-governmental negotiation. Building on results obtained in several recent studies on justice in negotiation, we examine a set of hypotheses about relationships among negotiating process (as distributive bargaining or problem solving), justice (as procedural and distributive), outcomes (as compromise or integrative), and the duration of the agreements. The process variables were coded from negotiators’ statements with categories from the bargaining process analysis system.

The Pursuit of Missing Information in Negotiation

A large body of research has focused on how people exchange and use information during the negotiation process. This work tends to treat information as if it all were readily available upon request. The current research investigated how delays in the pursuit of missing information can influence people’s ex-ante priorities and the final settlements they reach. Study 1 found that negotiators achieved more value on an issue after seeking missing information about that issue compared to when the same information was readily accessible.

When Does Taking a Break Help in Negotiations? The Influence of Breaks and Social Motivation on Negotiation Processes and Outcomes

Most negotiations are interrupted from time to time to reflect on the negotiation or to do other pressing tasks. This study investigated how these breaks and the thoughts during these breaks influence subsequent negotiation behavior. Prosocially motivated dyads, with a tendency to think cooperatively, and proself-motivated dyads, with a tendency to think competitively, engaged in a negotiation in which there was a 3-min break. During this break, either they could reflect upon the negotiation or they did a distraction task.

Individual Differences in Third-Party Interventions: How Justice Sensitivity Shapes Altruistic Punishment

Altruistic punishment refers to the phenomenon that humans invest their own resources to redress norm violations without self-interest involved. We address the question of who will intervene in situations that allow for altruistic punishment. We suggest that individual differences in a genuine concern for justice, as reflected by the personality trait of justice sensitivity, determine the experience of moral emotions in the face of injustice, which in turn trigger altruistic punishment.

Not So Bad After All: How Relational Closeness Buffers the Association Between Relationship Conflict and Helpful and Deviant Group Behaviors

Past research has left unanswered the question of how to reduce the negative effects of relationship conflict in work groups. This study investigates whether relational closeness in work groups buffers the negative association between relationship conflict and two important group behaviors that are often overlooked in conflict research: group-level helping behavior and counterproductive work behavior.

Conflict Cultures in Organizations: How Leaders Shape Conflict Cultures and Their Organizational-Level Consequences.

Anecdotal evidence abounds that organizations have distinct conflict cultures, or socially shared norms for how conflict should be managed. However, research to date has largely focused on conflict management styles at the individual and small group level, and has yet to examine whether organizations create socially shared and normative ways to manage conflict. In a sample of leaders and members from 92 branches of a large bank, factor analysis and aggregation analyses show that 3 conflict cultures—collaborative, dominating, and avoidant—operate at the unit level of analysis.

Trust and Treason: Social Network Structure as a Source of Flexibility in Peace Negotiations

To reach a negotiated peace settlement, the parties to the conflict have to show flexibility in their negotiation positions. This article examines why some rebel groups are flexible on the main issue of contention, whereas others are not. The study explores rebels’ social network structure as a source of negotiation flexibility.

Reaping the benefits of task conflict in teams: The critical role of team psychological safety climate.

Past research suggests that task conflict may improve team performance under certain conditions; however, we know little about these specific conditions. On the basis of prior theory and research on conflict in teams, we argue that a climate of psychological safety is one specific context under which task conflict will improve team performance. Using evidence from 117 project teams, the present research found that psychological safety climate moderates the relationship between task conflict and performance.

Strategic Display and Response to Emotions: Developing Evidence-based Negotiation Expertise in Emotion Management (NEEM)

This article conceptualizes emotion management as a form of negotiation expertise, and integrates the nascent empirical literature on emotion in negotiation with concepts from the learning sciences literature to suggest how negotiation expertise in emotion management (NEEM) can be taught.

Mind Games: The Mental Representation of Conflict.

Perception and misperception play a pivotal role in conflict and negotiation. We introduce a framework that explains how people think about their outcome interdependence in conflict and negotiation and how their views shape their behavior. Seven studies show that people's mental representations of conflict are predictably constrained to a small set of possibilities with important behavioral and social consequences.

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Termination as a Tactic and Norwegian Mediation in Sri Lanka

What explains a mediator’s choice of tactic when faced with a situation of crisis? This article focuses on mediation in internal armed conflicts and on one particular mediation tactic: the use of the exit option as a means to pressure the parties to enter into negotiations and make concessions to end the war. We examine the conditions under which the exit option—here referred to as the termination tactic—is likely to be used. Utilizing a cost–benefit approach, we develop a theoretical framework for understanding when mediators will employ the termination tactic.

Restorative Justice in the Classroom: Necessary Roles of Cooperative Context, Constructive Conflict, and Civic Values

To ensure that restorative justice is effective, a cooperative context must be developed, future conflicts must be managed constructively, and relevant parties need to adopt civic values. The theory underlying the creation of a cooperative context is social interdependence theory. Goal interdependence may be positive (i.e., cooperative) or negative (i.e., competitive). Creating a cooperative context will both help prevent destructively managed conflicts and help create positive relationships. The long-term maintenance of a cooperative context depends on resolving conflicts constructively.